Some Thoughts About Grammatical Reform [wip]

Note: This page is part of a short series. Please read the page on Phonetic Reform first for background on these reforms.

While devising my featural phonetic alphabet for English, I decided to take the opportunity to make a few grammatical changes that have niggled me for years. After all, these are my reforms, and there is no prospect of anyone else adopting them, so why be niggardly in my efforts? Moreover, the phonetic and grammatical reforms stand alone: using the former does not mean you have to use the latter.

This page on grammatical reform has come last, long after the pages on my phonetic and numerical reforms were written. This was intentional. I was entirely comfortable with the phonetic changes, as they were sirimply descriptive, utilitarian alterations. Like many languages, English had once been largely phonetic; this change simply restored the language to its former utility. The new featural script is admittedly a bigger change, but in practice, once I devised the transliteration back into Latin characters this was somewhat moot. The internet is set up to use Latin characters, or at the very least Unicode characters. I cannot simply introduce my novel script for typing, and it is tricky trying to design a custom font, so the featural script is for now restricted to my pen and paper notes. With that set aside, there is really very little reason for me not to use the reformed spelling wherever possible. Separately, the numeric reforms have clear utilitarian value, as outlined in the page on numeric reform, and I therefore felt very little controversy in writing them up promptly and fully.

The grammatical reform is different. It is a significant change to usage, and its benefits are mostly about my personal minimalist aesthetic preference for elegant simplicity in systems and philosophies. I can produce arguments for this being an objectively valuable approach—Ockham's Razor, and all that. Yet, in keeping with my principle that we humans are primarily beasts, myself wholly included, I will cheerfully confess the subjective aesthetic significance of this for me. Simplicity and orderliness have for me a value in their own right, prior to any utilitarian value they may have.

This though goes alongside a recognition of path dependency. As explained elsewhere, my aim with these linguistic reforms is primarily to strike a happy balance—happy from my perspective, that is; most others seem entirely happy with the status quo—between absolute minimalist simplicity and deference to the existing forms, which have an organic, affectionate beauty of their own. Often the project has been to identify the underlying forms of the language and bring those to the fore. I will try to go into more detail on this in each section.

There are

Pronouns

Don't worry: this part of the project is not about the gibberish idiosyncratic pronouns belovéd of social justice warriors. I will not be encouraging you to identify as your inner faeself.

Basic Pronouns

I / me mii
You / you [single] ðii
He / She / It / Him / Her / It hii
We / us wii
You / you [plural] yii
They / Them dii

Possessive Pronouns

My / mine miis
Your / yours [single] ðiis
His / Her / Its / His / Hers / Its hiis
Our / ours wiis
Your / yours [plural] yiis
Their / Theirs diis

Tenses

Active

I kill mii kil
I am killing mii kilin
I have killed mii kiliv
I have been killing mii kilinv
I killed mii kilid
I was killing mii kilinid
I had killed mii kilivid
I had been killing mii kilinvid
I will kill mii kilil
I will be killing mii kilinil
I will have killed mii kilivil
I will have been killing mii kilinvil

Passive

I am killed mii bii kiləð
I am being killed mii biiyin kiləð
I have been killed mii biiyiv kiləð
I have been being killed mii biiyinv kiləð
I was killed mii biiyid kiləð
I was being killed mii biiyinid kiləð
I had been killed mii biiyivid kiləð
I had been being killed mii biiyinvid kiləð
I will be killed mii biiyil kiləð
I will be being killed mii biiyinil kiləð
I will have been killed mii biiyivil kiləð
I will have been being killed mii biiyinvil kiləð

Active Question

Do I kill? kwes mii kill?
Am I killing? kwes mii kilin?
Have I killed? kwes mii kiliv?
Have I been killing? kwes mii kilinv?
Did I kill? kwes mii kilid?
Was I killing? kwes mii kilinid?
Had I killed? kwes mii kilivid?
Had I been killed? kwes mii kilinvid?
Will I kill? kwes mii kilil?
Will I be killing? kwes mii kilinil?
Will I have killed? kwes mii kilivil?
Will I have been killing? kwes mii kilinvil?

Passive Question

Am I killed? kwes mii bii kiləð?
Am I being killed? kwes mii biiyin kiləð?
Have I been killed? kwes mii biiyiv kiləð?
Have I been being killed? kwes mii biiyinv kiləð?
Was I killed? kwes mii biiyid kiləð?
Was I being killed? kwes mii biiyinid kiləð?
Had I been killed? kwes mii biiyivid kiləð?
Had I been being killed? kwes mii biiyinvid kiləð?
Will I be killed? kwes mii biiyil kiləð?
Will I be being killed? kwes mii biiyinil kiləð?
Will I have been killed? kwes mii biiyivil kiləð?
Will I have been being killed? kwes mii biiyinvil kiləð?

Command / Imperative

Kill me kom kil mii
Be killing me kom kilin mii
Have me killed kom kiliv mii
Be having me killed kom kilinv mii

Adjectival Participle

The killing blow… ðə kiliŋ bloʊ…
The killed animal… ðə kiləð animəl…
Killing me… kiliŋ mii…
Killed by me… kiləð bai mii…
Having killed me… kiliviŋ mii…
Being killed by me… biiyiŋ kiləð bai mii…
Having been killed by me… biiyiviŋ kiləð bai mii…

This page is part of a short series. You may also be interested in my thoughts about Phonetic Reform and Numeric Reform.


sum θoətiz abaʊt gramatikəl rifʊəm [wip]

noət: ðis peij bii paət ov a ʃʊət siəriiz. pliiz riid ðə peij on fənetik rifʊəm fuəst foə bakgraʊnd on ðiiz rifʊəmiz.

pleishoʊldə tekst


ðis peij bii paət ov a ʃʊət siəriiz. yii meiy oəlsoʊ bii intərest in miis θoətiz abaʊt fənetik rifʊəm and nyʊʊmerik rifʊəm.